On his release from Atascadero, Ed Kemper began collecting weapons; first knives, one of which he particularly liked, and that he nicknamed the “General”, to the point of regularly sharpening its blade; then firearms, which were much more difficult to obtain because of his previous crimes. He borrowed some firearms from his co-workers, before buying one from his boss who wanted to go on a trip with his mistress. Most of the time, Kemper kept these weapons in the trunk of his car or in a specially arranged hideout under his seat.
Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin) / Bay City TV Archive
Edmund Kemper’s car, in which six hitchhiking coeds
were picked up and either stabbed, strangled or shot to death, was, in effect, “entered
into evidence” today at his murder trial in Santa Cruz.
Just before the noon recess, Judge Harry F. Brauer, at the request of District Attorney Peter Chang, allowed Kemper jurors to leave the courtroom and examine the car, which was driven up and parked along the river levee walkway at the rear of the courthouse.
Kemper did not immediately join the group of persons
from the trial, because he did not want to let his guard, sheriff deputy Bruce
Colomy put handcuffs on him and a waist restraining chain before leaving the
courthouse. Kemper has been allowed to appear in the courtroom, at Judge Brauer’s
instruction, wearing only manacles around his ankles, with his hands left free.
However, Colomy, as a security measure, insisted upon the additional restraint
outside the courtroom, and Kemper finally relented.
As the jury was examining the car, Kemper, flanked by two guards, filed through the crowd of spectators.
Crowds of curious onlookers gathered on the courthouse steps in the morning sunshine as the young giant, dressed in his jail-provided orange jumpsuit, towered above the car in which he has admitted taking six human lives.
Earlier, expert witnesses for the prosecution had testified about the physical evidence found in the car, including a dried pool of human blood found in the back seat where one girl, Alice Liu, a UCSC coed, was shot to death and another, Mary Anne Pesce, a Fresno State coed was stabbed to death. Traces of blood were also found in the trunk where other coeds had been shot to death.
Source: Register-Pajaronian, October 26, 1973, by Marj Von B
At first glance, the car looked generally clean inside and out. Investigation of Kemper’s car revealed blood stains in the back seat of the car and a dried puddle of blood underneath the back seat. A bullet was found embedded in the right-rear inside panel of the car. Kemper had murdered both Mary Anne Pesce and Alice Liu on the back seat.
Source: Register-Pajaronian, April 27, 1973, by Marj Von B
When Ed Kemper was arrested, his car was still parked near his mother’s apartment at 609 A Ord Drive. The police searched it and found, in the trunk, a shovel and a red dishpan. There was also a bloodstained knife, strands of hair and blood stains from his victims’ bodies.
Source: Register-Pajaronian, April 27, 1973, by Marj Von B
On the outside it seemed a harmless ride to the next
destination, but inside was a murderous trap.
Ed Kemper’s car was a used yellow 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 with a black hardtop. The inside of the car was also
black. He bought it with the money he received after suing another driver, a
female, in the last of his motorcycle accidents, in which he broke his left
Not long after he got the Ford Galaxie, he crashed the left rear fender in an accident. Kemper roughly patched the rear bumper and light himself. The car was still like that when Kemper was arrested.
While driving around, he noticed a large number of young women
hitchhiking, and began storing plastic bags, knives, blankets, and handcuffs in
his car. He then began picking up girls and peacefully letting them
go—according to Kemper, he picked up around 150 such hitchhikers—before
he felt homicidal sexual urges, which he called his “little zapples,”
and began acting on them.
Ed Kemper modified and organized his car in five ways to easily carry out his atrocious crimes against six female hitchhikers.
1. Radio antenna
Kemper fitted his car, which from the outside closely
resembled an unmarked police vehicle, with a radio transmitter, a microphone
and a large whip antenna. He used this to listen in on police transmissions. But
when he started on his deadly campaign, he realized that the car was too easily
recognizable and removed the antenna.
2. Passenger door
Kemper would jam the passenger door to trap in his hitchhiker victims.
Once they got in, he would pretend that their door was not shut properly. He
would reach over and slip an object, most often
a Chapstick tube, into the locking
mechanism, making it impossible to open the door from the inside.
3. Driver’s seat
Kemper stored his .22-calibre automatic pistol under
his seat while driving. Police had paid him a visit a few weeks before his
arrest to confiscate his .44-calibre magnum, which was stored in the trunk of
the car, amid his crimes due to concerns about his previous detainment at
Atascadero. Kemper feared at that moment he would be caught, but he wasn’t.
4. The “A” sticker
Kemper’s Ford Galaxie had an “A” sticker on the back bumper. Clarnell
Strandberg, giving in to her son’s urging, finally got him that “A” parking
sticker for his car, which she was able to do by paying a slight amount extra
for her own parking permit. The same sticker system was used on other UC
campuses, including Berkeley, which proved convenient for Kemper. Strictly speaking,
stickers were for the use of employees or students who had legitimate need to
park near the campus buildings.
5. Trunk of the car
Kemper used the trunk for hiding his victims’ bodies after he killed them. He murdered two of them in there: Anita Luchessa and Cindy Schall. He also decapitated several of his victims in the trunk, before bringing their bodies inside the house, where he would abuse and dismember them. He kept his victims’ severed heads in the trunk, sometimes for a few days, before disposing of them whenever he could.
Please note that the car shown in the picture is not Kemper’s actual car nor is it the right model. The car pictured here is a 1967 convertible Ford Galaxie 500. Kemper’s car was a 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 with a hardtop.
Sources: Real Crime Magazine #009 / L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (S. Bourgoin) / The Co-Ed Killer (M. Cheney)
This new Polaroid of Ed Kemper at the CMF in Vacaville surfaced yesterday on Instagram. According to its owner, it was taken some time between 1995 and 1999. The man standing next to Kemper is unknown. He is probably a visitor.
Thanks to serialkillermurderabilia for sharing this item from their awesome collection!
George Couper, an art teacher who worked at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville during the 1980s, tells of the time he spent with Ed Kemper: “I had a coffee-table book of Chartres Cathedral that Ed liked to look at. We had conversations… No, he had long conversations… Boring, really boring in an interesting way…”
Mr. Couper also discusses Cameron Britton’s portrayal of Kemper in Mindhunter: “Cameron Britton plays Ed Kemper better than Ed Kemper plays himself. The resemblance isn’t just in size and mustache… That would be easy… Make-up and props. It’s in the body language, voice modulation, movements and phrasing… The focus in those black-holes for eyes.”
Chartres Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), is a Roman Catholic church in Chartres, France, about 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Paris. Mostly constructed between 1194 and 1220, it stands at the site of at least five cathedrals that have occupied the site since Chartres became a bishopric in the 4th century. It is in the Gothic and Romanesque styles.
The following article was published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, on May 2, 1979. Due to a decision by the state Parole Board, only one reporter from this area was allowed to be present at Edmund Kemper’s parole hearing Tuesday. That reporter was Marj Von B of the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, who filed this report.
Kemper first became eligible for parole in 1979. He was denied parole that year, as well as at parole hearings in 1980, 1981, and 1982.
killer Ed Kemper, imprisoned in 1973 on eight first-degree murder counts, will
not be freed next year, a state prison parole board decided Tuesday. Kemper,
30, was found to be “unsuitable for release at this time,” but the
board’s decision did not seem to dismay him.
told the three-member board at the conclusion of a three-hour hearing at the
Vacaville State Medical Facility, “I’d have refused to be considered for
parole, but I didn’t want to be provocative.”
he had stated to the board he felt his release on parole was not “feasible,
legal or moral,” saying he had been sentenced to prison by Santa Cruz County
Superior Court Judge Harry F. Brauer “for the rest of your natural life.”
addition, Kemper said, “I don’t want to set a precedent of being a person
two-times released after multiple murders. I don’t want to ever hurt anybody
killed his grandmother and grandfather when he was 15, and was sent to
Atascadero State Mental Hospital and then to the California Youth Authority,
where he was paroled in 1970.
during the hearing, in which he was represented by a lawyer, Steve Bedient of
Sacramento, Kemper seemed bent on personally straightening out the state’s
recorded version of his crimes.
of the hearing procedure was the reading of a summary of his criminal history
into the record by the chairman, Ruth Rushen.
was a recitation of brutality, sexual depravity and violence, detailing the
killing of six young women, Kemper’s mother and one of her best friends.
to a confession made to police alter his surrender, Kemper said he had sexually
assaulted the coeds after killing them, and then had dismembered their bodies,
disposing of them in sites in Santa Cruz and other adjacent counties.
Mrs. Rushen read on, in a strange contrast, birds chirped in a tree outside the
windows of the second story prison conference room.
Santa Cruz District Attorney Art Danner was asked to add his comments for the
record, and he noted that the material related by Mrs. Rushen did not reflect
the fact that “parts” of one of the bodies of Kemper’s victims had
been cannibalized by the defendant.”
Danner said, did it reflect that Kemper had “mutilated” parts of his
mother’s body “by putting it into the garbage disposal.”
refuted the confession, saying that in telling the police the lurid details, “In
my unwise and immature judgment, I thought I was building a case supporting my psychiatric
plea (of not guilty by reason of insanity).”
disclaim any sexual misconduct during any of my crimes,” he said
emphatically. “I made those statements when it was understood that I was
to be the only witness at my trial.”
he added, “I am not a cannibal. That’s unsubstantiated and only claimed by
every hunter knows, I could get physically ill or die from eating an animal or
person in that state,” Kemper argued.
his account of the murders, Kemper said, he had been trying to “go to
Atascadero” instead of state prison. “I was trying to get myself
locked up for good.”
was trying to seal my fate, and the state in presenting its case botched it…
I have ample opportunity now to save myself in the courts.” Kemper said.
then he continued, “I’m not going to avail myself of them.”
also denied that he recently sought court permission to have psychosurgery to
help him get out of prison later. Kemper said, “I asked for multi-target
neurosurgery in the hope of gaining relief from any kind of homicidal
court denied his request.
if he was “still having urges to kill people,” Kemper said, “No.”
he explained, “I felt as if I had one foot in the coffin and one on a
He said he was afraid that “if some time I had a bad day and a prison officer or technician had a bad day and was provocative or insultive, I might smack his head up against the wall, and I would die in CDC (California Department of Corrections).”
referred to a state law which demands the death penalty for the murder of a
prison guard or official.
then he said mildly, “I am not known for a very short temper. I am a
in a sort of aside to himself, Kemper, who works as a clerk in a prison
psychotherapy ward, said, “I’ve had nine diagnoses in my time, I wonder how
many of them are valid?”
also appeared offended at a statement in a psychiatric report that he had shown
no remorse for all the killings.
feel very strongly about what I’ve done,” he said. “I do feel remorse
in what I’ve done.”
when pressed for a reason behind his killings, Kemper always seemed to return
to his relationship with his mother.
hate her — guts,” he said in a rare explosive moment during the hearing.
said he had turned to killing the six women because he was “feeling
persecuted and destroyed by my mother.”
it was his childhood hatred of his mother that led him to kill his
grandparents, too, he revealed.
he explained, “I’m not blaming my mother, I’m saying I hate my
the coed murders, Kemper said he was “sick of killing,” but murdered
his mother knowing that would “blow the whistle.”
said, “If she died they (the police) were going to get me, and if they got
me for her, they would get me for the others.”
denied he killed his mother’s friend to make persons think the two women were
away together for a weekend and give him time to flee before an investigation
of their disappearance.
Incongruously he said, “I killed her because she had hurt my mother very grievously.”
board members also talked with Kemper about his adjustment to prison life.
to prison reports he is “doing an outstanding job” as a therapy
clerk, has no disciplinary problems and “gets along with the staff and his
was asked by board member Craig Brown why he got along well in Vacaville and
other institutions “and in the community you become violent?”
when I am in a structured situation, I can get help when I need it,” Kemper
replied. But on the streets, I felt rather forgotten and sometimes I felt
loquacious Kemper later expounded on his life in prison saying, “I was
convinced when I came here, I would soon be dead.”
the last six months have been the best of my life. I’ve learned to live with
myself and with God. I believe I have an obligation to myself and the people
also spoke with pride of his work in recording books on tape for the blind and
the handicapped, which recently won him a public service award.
Danner warned the board not to be complacent about Kemper.
the kind of complacency he wants,” Danner said, “the kind that was seen at
Atascadero where he was released to kill again.”
district attorney said, “Mr. Kemper poses such an unreasonable risk and danger
to society, he is now unsuitable for release and probably will remain so for
the rest of his life.”
a 30-minute deliberation in private, the board called Kemper, the lawyers and
the press back into the room and announced its decision.
Rushen outlined the reasons for denying the parole.
she said, Kemper’s crimes “contained elements of such extraordinary violence
that it was incomprehensible to think that he should be released at this time.”
He had a previous record of violence, and although his juvenile record was
sealed, “he stated several times during the hearing that he had killed his
His violent and bizarre conduct after the crimes, which included mutilation and
defiling of the corpses of the victims, showed a total disregard for the
dignity and worth of a fellow human being… and this included the victims and
The psychology reports do not support suitability for release.
Rushen noted that the latest report on Kemper, dated in March of this year
diagnosed him as paranoid schizophrenic in a state of “good remission.” But she
added the report said that there was no way to predict the possibility of his
violence in the future if he is released.
greeted the decision with a smile and thanked the board.
to an initial outburst and his demand that the press and one reporter in
particular, be barred from the hearing, Kemper said, “I would like to apologize
for my untoward and abusive behavior, although it’s probably better than some
you’ve had in here,” he added with a chuckle.
with a wave of his hand, the six-foot, nine-inch inmate, known as “Big Ed,” ambled
down the long hall and was admitted into the locked area of the prison
Did Ed Kemper’s father ever forgive him for killing his parents in 1964?
According to Kemper himself, his father forgave him during their 1971 reunion. In June 1971, Ed Kemper tries to get in touch with his father whom he has not seen since his imprisonment at Atascadero. He manages to find his address and telephone number through the electricians’ union directory in Los Angeles. His father refuses to receive him at home because he remembers his second wife’s reactions and migraines when his son came to live with them. He agrees to meet him at a restaurant where they spend several hours together drinking, chatting and pretending to argue over who will pay for the alcohol tab. Finally, Ed Jr pays the bill. “I knew he never had bread, but we took the opportunity to solve all our problems, about the grandparents, and he told me he had forgiven me.” This would be their last meeting.
But, according to David Weber, Ed Kemper’s half-brother through their father, said in an interview published in the Fall of 2017 in the Daily Mail UK, that his father was at a loss as to what to do with his unruly son until [his parents] offered to take him in and straighten him out. “It was a fatal mistake. My father never forgave himself for that and only on his deathbed forgave Guy [Ed Kemper’s nickname in his family] for what he did. Susan [Kemper’s older sister] arranged a phone call between Guy, my dad, and a minister while my dad was dying in the hospital,” Weber said. Kemper’s father died on January 19, 1985.
Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin) / Daily Mail UK